June 19th, 2014
Sometimes you can really feel how our endless hours and labors towards justice have a real and direct impact. These past few months, Oregonians have many victories to celebrate and we have hundreds of human dignity leaders to congratulate for how they’ve kept the light of justice illuminated in their communities, year after year.
After decades and decades of struggle, marriage equality is now a reality for Oregonians. (Look for our upcoming ROPnet on the history of LGBTQ organizing in rural Oregon!)
Jackson and Josephine County voters passed initiatives written by local leaders that restrict the corporations that profit from GMOs (genetically-modified organisms) at the expense of rural family farmers, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by some of the most powerful corporations in the country to defeat them.
And, our Sheriffs have finally stopped ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) holds after a ruling came down that declared that detaining folks without a warrant is unconstitutional.
It has been a big couple of months! And the victories don’t stop there…
Now, after 2 1/2 years of tireless work by some of the smallest towns in Oregon and across rural America, the Springfield mail processing plant has a reprieve and there are no longer plans to shut it down! In addition, the USPS has announced that they are postponing their plans to cut rural postal services. Read more here!
The POSTPlan, which was the latest attempt to cut services, hours, and unionized employees in rural post offices and to close regional mail sorting facilities, has been POSTPONED, which gives approximaely 3,200 post offices across the state a reprieve for at least 3 months. Every time we have amassed serious power, the USPS has postponed to retool their strategies, and each time we have met them head-on with our unified demand – the USPS is uniquely positioned to play a role in supporting our changing economies and communities, we want the services of the post office to expand!
Some post offices have already had their hours cut and had their postmasters reassigned; some post offices have completely closed here in Oregon. We have seen the closure of our Salem mail sorting facility and how it is has impacted small businesses and the towns that facility served. However, rural Oregonians successfully pushed back against the closure of the Springfield plant through demonstrations, radical Christmas carols, and civil disobedience, and now the Springfield plant has a reprieve! Human dignity leaders and post office activists have pushed back in dozens of towns across Oregon, many of which will see some relief in the coming months. We are proud to have worked alongside incredible leaders in Tiller, Idanha, Azalea, Alsea, Umpqua, Brothers, Powell Butte, Drewsey, Juntura, Foster, and more! And congrats to all who fought so hard to save the Springfieild mail processing plant! For a map of post offices that are likely to receive the reprieve, look here.
These victories are about more than marriage or post offices or GMOs – these victories are about who is included, what rights we all should have and what resources we all deserve. These victories are about redefining who we are as a community and what liberty and justice for all really means.
Congratulations to the many human dignity groups across Oregon that have worked for months and years on these issues and continue to hold a space for justice in your communities.
PS: Check out some stories of small town successfully organizing to keep their post offices open:
It’s Not Every Day We Make National News
Rural Postal Service: Something to Be Thankful For